The Lathe of Heaven

184 pages

Published Nov. 7, 1991 by Book-of-the-Month Club.

ISBN:
9780684125299
OCLC Number:
46663854

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4 stars (3 reviews)

“The Lathe of Heaven” ; 1971 ( Ursula Le Guin received the 1973 Locus Award for this story) George Orr has a gift – he is an effective dreamer: his dreams become reality when he wakes up. He is aware of his past and present, two or more sets of memories, although the people around him are only aware of the current reality. This science fiction story is set in Portland, Oregon, in/around the late 1990s - early 2000s. Orr begins to take drugs to suppress dreams but eventually he is sent to a psychotherapist, Dr. William Haber, who has developed an electronic machine, the Augmentor, which records the brain patterns of a person as they dream. When Haber realizes that he can use Orr's unique ability to change their world, the consequences are both beneficial and frightening, both locally and globally. Orr seeks out the help of a civil …

15 editions

Weirdest thing I've read by Le Guin

4 stars

It's funny how of all the books I've read by Le Guin, the one that's set on a baseline plausible Earth-in-my-lifetime would turn out to be the weirdest. Also funny how in what starts as a pretty reasonable extrapolation from 1971 to ~2000 has one repeated glaring error: multiple references to the perfect cone of Mount St. Helen's.

Against that background, we get a story of a man running away from his dreams because they give him a power he doesn't understand and can't control. And another man who wants to channel that power, setting up a modern Daoist fable about the hubris of trying to control too much.

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4 stars